The irrepressible Vanessa Fernandes has done it again. The Portuguese star won her fourth consecutive European Championship in Copenhagen, Denmark today, adding another title to an already impressive 2007 campaign. The win never really seemed in doubt as the world number one virtually led the race from start to finish. She was first after the swim but had 15 women all just 11 seconds behind her, including her compatriot Anais Moniz, last year’s junior women’s champion.
On the 40-kilometer bike course, Fernandes didn’t push too hard and chose to stay among the leaders. She headed out onto the run with 25 other women nipping at her heels, all within 18 seconds of each other. The group included several worthy challengers such as Nicola Spirig, Ricarda Lisk and a host of Austrians including reigning Olympic champion Kate Allen, Eva Dollinger and Tania Haiboeck.
But if there was any doubt Fernandes would falter in her bid for a fourth championship, it was quickly dismissed in the 10-kilometer run course. In typical Fernandes fashion, she pushed the pace on the run and distanced herself from the rest of the field. After the first lap, she was up 27 seconds on the chase pack that was narrowed down to Spirig, Brit Michelle Dillon, Allen and Lisk. Mid-way through the final leg Fernandes’ lead extended to 48 seconds and it was clearly evident who was going to stand atop the European podium once again.
Fernandes continued to assert herself as one of the greatest, if not the greatest, European triathlete in history, winning the title with a time of 2:02:36. She becomes the first women to win four straight European crowns, and the first to do it since Dutchman Rob Barel won the first four men’s races from 1985 to 1988.
Olympic gold medalist Kate Allen came across the line to win silver, just edging out Nicola Spirig by two seconds.
Whitcombe just missed out on the podium and finished in fourth place for the second consecutive year. Lisk came across the line for fifth spot. Other notables include Dillon in sixth place, and last year’s runner-up Anja Dittmer in seventh spot.
The elite women’s field contained 62 from 25 countries that raced in windy and cloudy conditions.
2007 Copenhagen ETU Triathlon European Championships – Final women’s results:
1st – Vanessa Fernandes (POR) 2:02:36
2nd – Kate Allen (AUT) 2:03:21
3rd – Nicola Spirig (SUI) 2:03:24
4th - Andrea Whitcombe (GBR) 2:03:29
5th – Ricarda Lisk (GER) 2:03:40
6th - Michelle Dillon (GBR) 2:03:49
7th – Anja Dittmer (GER) 2:04:06
8th - Ewa Dederko (POL) 2:04:09
9th - Eva Dollinger (AUT) 2:04:27
10th - Carole Peon (FRA) 2:04:47
Earlier in the day, 40 junior women took the start line. Brit Hollie Avil came out of the water in second place and put in the work during the bike course to lead the field heading into the second transition. Avil blistered the run course with the fastest time and cruised to the junior women’s European title. Last year’s bronze medalist Rebecca Robisch of Germany finished 21 seconds behind Avil to take the silver while another Brit, Kirsty McWilliam came across the line for the bronze.
|Results: Men's AWAD|
|Results: Elite Women|
|Results: Junior Women|
|Results: Men Relay|
|1.||Team I Germany||GER||01:10:03|
|2.||Team I Portugal||POR||01:10:11|
|3.||Team I Russia||RUS||01:10:25|
|4.||Team I Ukraine||UKR||01:10:34|
|5.||Team I Switzerland||SUI||01:10:41|
|Results: Junior Men Relay|
|1.||Team I Russia||RUS||01:11:07|
|2.||Team I France||FRA||01:11:21|
|3.||Team I Italy||ITA||01:11:25|
|4.||Team I Portugal||POR||01:11:32|
|5.||Team I Germany||GER||01:11:40|